RACE 2012: Airs tonight. Will you be watching?
Last night, with my daughter on my lap, I watched the trailer for the PBS documentary, Race 2012: A Conversation About Race & Politics in America, which airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. in San Diego. (Check your local listings if you’re not here enjoying our extended summer.) It began with a montage of images of the crowd at Grant Park on the night of Barack Obama’s election four years ago, a rotating set of pictures set to Obama’s acceptance speech and the cheers that nearly made it impossible to hear. One photo after another showed Americans of all backgrounds in various states of disbelief and elation. Some wept, some hugged, some prayed. Many stood with mouths agape, faces to the sky, witnesses to a moment most of us never thought possible.
I remember that night with a more flat affect now. Intellectually, I can say, Yeah, that was an incredible night. But the visceral emotion of it isn’t always so accessible. Much of that enthusiasm and promise and, yes, hope, have been wiped away by the bipartisan struggles and disappointments that were inevitible. But director/producer Phillip Rodriguez made me feel it all over again, and more importantly, he made it impossible for Ruby to misunderstand the meaning of what happened that night.
And though she didn’t ask any questions until later in the trailer when Rodriguez illustrated how white people will become the minority in the very near future (“You mean, there will be more brown people in America?”), she sat curled on my lap, watching with so much intensity and concentration, a person looking in through our front window might have thought she was watching Finding Nemo.
Welcome. Bienvenue. Bienvenidos. This is the future. And millions of brown children just like her are learning from the first family, that there are other ways of being black than what our society has generally laid out for them.
Please watch the documentary and then visit the Facebook page—and any of the writers who are blogging about the program—and let’s talk about the changing political landscape in America. There is much to discuss, and the sooner we all get comfortable doing it, the better.